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Canadian talent on display at Silverwave

The 15th annual Silverwave Film Festival kicked off last Thursday and ran through Sunday. Over the course of four days and five venues, filmmakers from across Canada screened their latest full and short length features in the fiction and documentary fields. Covering every film is impossible but I did my best to capture it all.

My weekend started with the Coast to Coast Shorts program on Friday night. Eric Iverson’s film Collision toed the line of tragedy as a chance encounter leads to heartbreak. I was choked up and a number of others were wiping their eyes by the end. Culvert Affairs is a hallucinatory Lynchian nightmare that throws back to the surrealism of Luis Buenuel. Kelly Hill creates a fascinating journey down the sewer to an underground society.

Housing the festival’s best performance, Shoreline is a touching story of a recent widow who struggles to find her footing in a world she doesn’t know. Sara Campbell’s performance nearly brought me to tears as she laments the loss of her husband.

Death looms large in the personal The Last Take. In the second production by Eric Iverson, a young man copes with the loss of his brother by incorporating his brother’s daily activities into his life when he is interrupted by a visit from his sister.

Later that night the Midnight Madness program proved we have some beautiful yet twisted minds. All Doors Locked turned the home invasion concept upside down with a darkly comedic ending. Gnaw shows the irrational mind in peril with crowd pleasing deadpan. The ending was one of my favorite moments of the festival as the crowd erupted in laughter easing their built up tension.

Director Jared Carney was able to secure the rights to an old Stephen King short story with his film The Man Who Loves Flowers. The film tackles love and the delusion that can lead to a breakdown in mental consistency and possibly more. The night ended with the slick looking time travel related The Future Perfect about a man who has to return to 1968 to make sure a red balloon remains static in order to re-construct history.

I kicked off Saturday with the Canadian & International Shorts II program. Top to bottom, this was my favorite screening of the weekend. All of the films featured were particularly effective. Islands is a tragic film about loss and the psychological effects on a young PEI woman. Living inside the bottle at her deceased parent’s home, she has a chance encounter with an old classmate that offers her first chance of hope – but will it last?

In 4 Quarters, an overworked student constantly gives in to a drug addicted ex-girlfriend who he can’t refuse to help. The film asks how much you can allow someone to exploit you before you push them away. Bound is a gritty tale about the extent you will cross morals for family. When a man receives money from his brother under illegal conditions that exploits others, the question of should do anything is difficult to answer.

Opening up with a hilarious short about the absurdity of lens flares, Saturday night’s New Brunswick Shorts Gala screened 18 shorts from around the province. Aidos captures a lifetime of love in striking dreamy imagery of profiles of friends and lovers mouthing the words “I love you.”

In Search of Laura Fern foreshadows what is to come with an opening shot of the novel Gone Girl on a bookcase. A man wakes out of drunken stupor to discover his wife is missing and traces her whereabouts, ultimately having to face the truth of the situation.

Two of the best performances of the festival appear in Stonewalled, an intimate look at a relationship plagued with an unfortunate decision. The night ended with my favorite film of the weekend, Jillian Acreman’s Marigolds, a film about the inability to produce coital requirements. Marigolds featured the best cinematography of the weekend, matched with Ryan O’Toole’s magnetic performance; the film received a deservingly rousing reception when the lights went up.

As of this writing there are a few final screenings on Sunday that deadlines are restricting me from covering. Don’t let that stop you from attending Silverwave next year. See you there.

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